How to Plant Rutabagas


Rutabagas thrive in cold climates and do especially well in growing zones lower than 2. In fact, when grown in warm climates that don't experience a cool or cold period in fall and winter, rutabagas do not develop their typical flavor. But, when grown in an appropriately chilly clime, the cold-hardy and drought-tolerant rutabaga grows into a tasty tuber with very little management.

Step 1

Choose a site. Rutabagas have few requirements, but one of the most important of those few is ample direct sunlight. Rutabagas will only tolerate a minimal amount of shade.

Step 2

Prepare the seed bed at least six weeks before you plant your rutabagas. Remove any weeds (and their root systems along with them) and spread a 4-inch layer of organic compost. Then, turn the soil to a depth of 1 foot and rake the soil smooth.

Step 3

Sow rutabaga seeds three months before you expect the first frost (the temperature should be above 50 degrees Fahrenheit). Plant the seeds ½ inch deep and 1 inch apart in rows that are 18 inches apart.

Step 4

Water thoroughly.

Step 5

Thin seedlings when they sprout. Only save the best plants and pull all others so that your plants are growing at least 8 inches apart.

Things You'll Need

  • Organic compost


  • University of Illinois: Veggies
  • Purdue University: Rutabaga
Keywords: plant rutabagas, sow rutabagas, grow rutabagas

About this Author

Emma Gin is a freelance writer who specializes in green, healthy and smart living. She is currently working on developing a weight-loss website that focuses on community and re-education. Gin is also working on a collection of short stories, because she knows what they say about idle hands.